West Star Aviation acquired by The Sterling Group


West Star Aviation has been acquired by The Sterling Group, an operationally focused middle market private equity firm. The company’s previous investor was Norwest Equity Partners (NEP).

“Sterling’s employee-focused approach to their business partnerships and their expertise in the general aviation space makes them the perfect fit for West Star,” said Jim Rankin, CEO of West Star Aviation. “As we enter our 75th year, the combined efforts of our experienced employees, our founders and now the Sterling team, will allow West Star to continue to offer the best customer experience in the industry.”

“We believe that our experience coupled with West Star’s industry-leading customer service capabilities will make us a powerful combination,” said Greg Elliott, partner at The Sterling Group. “Jim Rankin has built a stellar leadership team, and we are eager to help accelerate their growth plans.”

“It has been very rewarding to work with Jim, the previous founders, and the entire management team,” said Todd Solow, NEP partner. “They’ve built a great culture, and the team knows how to work together to execute on growth initiatives. The entire NEP team wishes West Star well, especially as the company celebrates its 75th anniversary and knows the company is in great hands for future success with Sterling.”

Sterling has experience in the business aviation industry, having previously partnered with entrepreneur owners to build Lynx, an FBO network. Elliott has been involved in building several business aviation platforms in the past 20 years, as either chairman or board member of Lynx, Encore, Trajen and Landmark Aviation.

West Star Aviation specialises in the repair and maintenance of airframes, engines and APUs, avionics installations and repair, major modifications, interior refurbishment, exterior paint, accessory services and parts.

The company’s primary facilities are in East Alton, Illinois; Grand Junction, Colorado; Chattanooga, Tennessee; and Perryville, Missouri. Additionally, West Star Aviation maintains satellite facilities in Aspen and Denver, Colorado; Chicago, Illinois; Houston, Texas; and Minneapolis, Minnesota. The company also provides complete FBO services for transient aircraft at its East Alton and Grand Junction facilities, as well as AOG/MRT services nationwide.

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Izzy has been part of the Business Jet Interiors International team since its second issue, and the editor since 2011. She also edits Auditoria and Railway Interiors International. Outside of work, Izzy is rediscovering her love of art by learning how to paint with watercolors.

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